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Golfers Guide to Injuries: Lower Back

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

Golfer's guide to lower back injuries

What are the most common golf injuries?

  • Lower back 34%,

  • Elbow 27%,

  • Shoulder 19%,

  • Wrist 10%,

  • Other 9%.

Types of injuries sustained by golfers:

  • Soft tissue injuries (muscles, tendons, and ligaments),

  • Disc injuries,

  • Postural / movement relates injuries,

  • Degenerative arthritis,

  • Bone fractures.

Why does my lower back hurt when I play golf?

Possible causes of lower back pain:

  • Reduced flexibility and movement (ankles, hips, upper back, and shoulders),

  • Overworked muscles in the lower back,

  • Reduced fitness and strength.

Lack of mobility and movement around a joint will often be down to a muscular tension, resulting in poor posture and/or movement. Muscular tension usually causes an imbalance, where some muscles have become shortened and tight, and the opposing muscles lengthened and weak.

Reduced function around that joint will force other areas of the body to compensate and take on some of the workload. Overtime, these muscles or joints reach the point where they can no longer managed the increased effort (overworked), and we experience pain. Therefore, we may experience pain in an area that is different to the cause.

Lower back pain is often due to the muscles in our lower back being overworked due to restrictions in other areas of the body such as the ankles, hips, upper back (thoracic spine), and shoulders. Lack of fitness can also result in poor technique as tiredness sets in, and reduced core (trunk) muscular strength will also cause the lower back muscles to overwork.

An imbalance within or around a joint also creates stress within the joint or muscle, where structures may get compressed or irritated, causing pain. For example, shoulder impingement and golfers’ elbow (medial epicondylitis).

To eliminate the cause of pain, it is important that we get it assessed by a healthcare practitioner. If only the site of pain is treated and not the cause, then the issue will keep reoccurring.

What can I do to stop / prevent my lower back hurting during or after golf?

  • Completing warm up exercises before playing to prepare the body to play,

  • Stretching after playing to help recovery and reduce stiffness,

  • Exercise conditioning: develop a stronger core / trunk to support swing mechanics,

  • Improve swing technique,

  • Incorporate recovery techniques (massage, nutrition, sleep, remedial exercise).

How do I treat the injury once it has occurred?

As mentioned above, it is important to have an injury assessment by a healthcare professional to find the cause of injury. This helps with preventing the injury from reoccurring.

Treatment may include:

  • Exercise rehabilitation (strengthening and stretching)

  • Pilates exercises

  • Manual / soft tissue therapy (massage and/or joint mobilisations)

  • Acupuncture / dry needing

  • Orthotics

  • Ice / heat therapy

How do I strengthen my lower back for golf?

This is a bit of a trick question, as you will have learnt so far that often the lower back muscles are already being overloaded and overworked. So, instead, how can you reduce the load through the lower back muscles?

The best way is to strengthen our core. Pilates type exercises are a great way to build a strong base to our core muscles which wrap around our middle like a corset. Once we have built the strong foundations, we can then increase the intensity whilst maintaining good technique and posture.

Transverse Abdominal Activation:

Single Leg Stretch (level 1):

Scissors (level 1): video coming soon!

Exercises to help your golf swing

Hip Flexor Stretch:

Check out our golf specific warm up and cool down handout to help you:

Get in touch if you would like to book an injury assessment or Pilates session:

01352 746 500

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